Xanax (Alprazolam)

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Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax (after one of the most common brand names), is an anti-anxiety medicine in the benzodiazepine family and similar to diazepam (Valium). Alprazolam is however around 10 times stronger and has a quicker/shorter-acting effect.

Those that take alprazolam may quite quickly feel relaxed, tired and sleepy. Some people have mixed alprazolam with alcohol, which increases health concerns due to risk of overdose caused by heart and breathing problems, and have been taken to hospital.

There is also concern around exploitation due to alprazolam causing blackouts, which increases the risk of sexual exploitation and harm. Like other medicines in the benzodiazepine family, long term use can mean that young people start becoming physically dependent and may suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it.

Youth Offending Teams should have clear referral pathway to young people’s treatment services to support those young people that require planned care for support with their use of alprazolam (as well as other drugs and alcohol).

Further information around alprazolam can be found in the following resources:

Public Heath England have created a short blog around alprazolam

FRANK, have a short briefing on alprazolam

Drug Watch, have put together a briefing on Alprazolam (Xanax) for professionals


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